The best winter tires for road cycling

Top choices for foul-weather training and commuting

Winter training and commuting is hard enough without worrying about fixing a flat with frozen fingers on a dark road. Fortunately there’s never been a better selection of winter road bike tires combining trustworthy all-weather performance with everyday survivability, and to make your life easier we’ve rounded up some of the best winter road tires available.


The key to these real world advances has been the combination of technologies from seemingly very different areas. Tire compounds and layups developed for racing use in wet conditions deliver a balance of late braking, hard-turning grip and rolling speed.

Puncture protection technology has also come along a great deal (we certainly don’t miss puncture protection strips) and is now largely inspired by multi-ply composites used originally in bulletproof vests — you can now have a barrier between road debris and your inner tube without feeling like there’s wood in your tires.

We’ve split this guide into three areas: lightweight winter tires, heavy duty winter tires, and gravel tires.

While it may be tempting to go for the heaviest-duty tire you can handle lugging about, puncture proof tires really have got a lot better in recent years, so it’s worth delving into our longer reviews to see whether one may work for you.

If you’re still regularly plagued by punctures, it may also be worth investigating whether or not a tubeless setup could work for you. Even adding a bit of tubeless sealant to your inner tubes can help.

If you’re looking for a faster summer tire you may be interested in our roundup of the fastest clincher tires available on the market, as tested at Wheel Energy in Finland.

What to look for when buying winter tires

Tread: Deep treads moulded in motorbike and car tire help to squeeze water from under the tire in really wet conditions. Bicycle tires simply aren’t wide enough to aquaplane at normal speeds, so are largely unnecessary on smooth surface. Regardless, lots of riders naturally trust treaded tires more than slicks, whatever the science.

Protective layer: The tires here all use some kind of protective sheet under the tread to stop sharp objects puncturing the inner tube. Trying to balance extra protection but still allowing the tire to be flexible and supple enough to roll quickly and comfortably is hard. Some tires also include protective layers in the side walls to stop cuts.

Size: The bigger the carcass, the more air between you and the road. This means the inner tube is less likely to get pinched and punctured. Fatter tires feel more comfortable, afford more control on rough surfaces and oodles of tests have shown they often roll better than narrower ones.

Compound: The real key to grip is the compound of the rubber; a soft compound tire will be very grippy, but will wear fast and have a higher rolling resistance. Harder compounds are fast rolling and wear well but are slippery. This is why many tires have a dual compound that is harder in the centre than on the shoulders.

Best lightweight winter road tires

If you value performance over out-and-out puncture protection, one of these hardy yet fast tires are likely for you.

Schwalbe Durano

5.0 out of 5 star rating
The Durano is the winter tread by which all others are measured
Cycling Plus / Immediate Media
  • Price: £38.99 / $52.49 / €45.99 / AU$66.99
  • Weight: 219g
  • Size tested: 25mm

The Durano is the standard against which all-weather tires are measured. Its tread life and puncture proofing performance receives regular praise from our most hibernation-adverse testers.

At 219g in its 25mm wide guise, it’s also as light as some summer treads. While the full RRP is a little off-putting at first, the tire is regularly available with a chunky discount.

Plus it’s available in a rainbow of funky colours, so what’s not to like?

Continental Grand Prix 4 Season

4.0 out of 5 star rating
The Grand Prix 4 Season is common OE spec
Cycling Plus / Immediate Media
  • Price: £54.99 / $73.99 / €64.49 / AU$93.99
  • Weight: 276g
  • Size tested: 25mm

Ahh, the venerable Grand Prix 4 Season. This is one of the more classic winter tire options out there and is quite common as OE spec — and with good reason!

The DuraSkin carcass has been proven to be incredibly resilient to tears and punctures without sacrificing too much comfort or speed, and the supposedly winter-specific rubber compound performs very well in wet conditions.

At full RRP, the Grand Prix 4 season is a little pricey, but it can often be found online with a healthy discount.

And just for the sake of clarity, it’s worth pointing out that this tire is very different from the legendary Grand Prix 4000S II, a much lighter weight, performance oriented tire.

Vredestein Fortezza Senso Xtreme Weather

4.0 out of 5 star rating
The Forza uses a wet weather specific compound
Cycling Plus / Immediate Media
  • Price: £46.99 / $67.49 / €58.49 / AU$85.49
  • Weight: 246g
  • Size tested: 25mm

Designed explicitly for riding in foul weather, Vredestein’s Fortezzo Senso clinchers feature a lightly patterned tread and a compound that is said to have been designed specifically for riding in the wet.

Our 25mm test tire weighed in at a respectable, but not that feathery, 246g.

The Senso also features ‘Full Protection’ — this means that a woven, puncture resistant polyamide layer protects the whole tire, not just the central tread.

Hutchinson Intensive 2

4.0 out of 5 star rating
While a little greasy out of the box, the Intensive is a great option once worn in
Cycling Plus / Immediate Media
  • Price: £24.99 / $33.99 / €29.49 / AU$42.99
  • Weight: 224g
  • Size tested: 23mm

We found the Hutchinson Intensive a little slippery out of the box, with the tire lathered in a residual coating of silicone from moulding.

But once worn in, the tire showed its true colours — this budget-conscious tread is impressively grippy and has a seriously impressive wear life.

Puncture protection is pretty good to boot, so boosts the tires already good value.

Panaracer Race Type D

4.0 out of 5 star rating
The Panaracer Race Type D borrows the super grippy tread from the brand’s summer tyres
Cycling Plus / Immediate Media
  • Price: £39.99 / $55.00 / €46.00 / AU$67.95
  • Weight: 261g
  • Size tested: 25mm

This winter training tire takes the proven traction of Panaracer’s Race family and overlays it on a much tougher, reinforced carcass.

The 25mm version rides surprisingly smoothly for an armoured tire, but is a bit of a pain to get on and off — make sure you pack your tire levers!

The dual compound tread also provides decent performance in the wet and dry, but rolling resistance isn’t the best in class.

Michelin Pro 4 Endurance 4

4.0 out of 5 star rating
The Pro 4 Endurance builds on the well loved Krylion
Cycling Plus / Immediate Media
  • Price: £40 / $47 / €46 / AU$69
  • Weight: 243g
  • Size tested: 25mm

The Pro 4 Endurance replaced the popular Krylion with promises of extra grip without compromising longevity, secure handling and easy speed.

The new dual rubber compound has certainly proved to be sure-footed enough for a knee down approach to dirty, wet descents and it rolls well too, with the generous carcass meaning smooth float and sustained speed on rough tarmac despite a bead to bead puncture-proof layer.

We previously rode the Pro 4 Endurance right through spring and found that the compound certainly resists cuts, abrasions and general wear and tear better than the old Pro 3.

Maxxis Radiale

4.0 out of 5 star rating
The Radiale doesn’t have the most generous carcass, but is still very grippy
Cycling Plus / Immediate Media
  • Price: £63.19, international pricing unavailable
  • Weight: 212g
  • Size tested: 23mm

Maxxis’s Radiale construction race rubber is phenomenally confident and quick in wet conditions, but it’s low in height and tall in price.

Using a radial rather than cross-ply carcass construction makes it amazingly supple for such a shallow tire and it glides over rough surfaces and maintains momentum beautifully as long as you dodge bigger bumps and holes.

The overhanging triple compound tread with sipe cuts gives outstanding wet weather grip while still feeling race fast. Bead-to-bead reinforced durability is proving impressive too, and wear rates are perfectly acceptable.

Best heavy duty winter road tire

If you like to use your road bike for commuting, ride on particularly bad or debris strewn roads or just hate punctures, one of these heavy duty tires may suit your needs.

Panaracer RibMo

4.0 out of 5 star rating
While very heavy, the RiBMo is a great option if you ride on particularly bad roads
Cycling Plus / Immediate Media
  • Price: £39.99 / $55 / €46 / AU$68
  • Weight: 351g
  • Size tested: 25mm

The Panaracer RibMo (Ride Bicycle More) tire is actually marketed as an urban/commuting tire, but makes a perfectly good, albeit slightly sluggish, training tire — no surprise given the 25mm version we tested weighed in at a meaty 351g.

The tire is available in both folding and wire bead versions, but we’d always recommend going for the considerably lighter folding version. If you plan on using the tire, make sure you pack a set of solid tire levers as the super-stiff sidewall can be a bit of mare to get on and off the rim.

Schwalbe Marathon Racer

4.0 out of 5 star rating
If you like to ride over thumb tacks for a laugh the Marathon is probably for you
  • Price: £31.99 / $55 / €46 / AU$68
  • Weight: 453g
  • Size tested: 40mm

If you like to ride on really poor roads — like, really poor — or want to use your road bike for commuting, you may want to consider one of the options from Schwalbe’s enormous Marathon range.

The super beefy tire has a super thick tread and hefty, well reinforced sidewalls — sidewalls that are also embedded with a reflective strip and a dynamo track of all things.

The Marathon Plus — a true behemoth of a tire at over 700g — is also available, but you really have to be riding in some extraordinarily bad conditions to need these on your road bike.

We actually tested the 40mm of the Marathon Racer and it isn’t available in a huge range of sizes, but most modern disc equipped bikes should be able to squeeze the 30mm version in.

Best winter tire that’s also good for gravel

If you see yourself indulging in the odd gravel dalliance, or just want a tire that will perform well on loose surfaces without being too sluggish on the road, you may want to consider one of these gravel tires.

Hutchinson Sector 28

4.5 out of 5 star rating
While very light, the Sector 28 isn’t afraid to stray off the beaten path
Ben Delaney / Immediate Media
  • Price: £54.99 / $73.99 / €64.49 / AU$93.99
  • Weight: 282g
  • Size tested: 28mm

The Sector is a super plush, 28mm wide clincher that was created by Hutchinson as a tubeless alternative to one of its popular racing tubulars.

The lightly treaded tire can easily handle light gravel dalliances without feeling overly draggy on the road — this is largely down to its pliable 127tpi casing and low weight.

Set up tubeless you can get away with riding the plump tires at much lower pressures than would be possible on a skinnier one, so should help to smooth out even the worst potholed back lanes.

At a relatively-light 282g, the Sector could also probably live beneath the ‘fast winter tire’ category if you ride on lots of rough, broken roads.

Clement Strada LGG

4.5 out of 5 star rating
The LGG is a great all-round tyre that isn’t afraid to get dirty
Russel Eich / Immediate Media
  • Price: £34.99 / $46.99 / €40.99 / AU$59.99
  • Weight: 260g
  • Size tested: 25mm

We tested the lighter, dual-compound 120tpi version of the Strada LGG and found they handled gravel with ease without feeling overly draggy on the road.

Cornering capability isn’t up there with the very best racing tires, but you’re less likely to be going full-sideways in the winter anyway.

If you go for anything other than the rather handsome tan wall version, you’re a fool. The tire is available in 25, 28 and 32mm version and we recommend you get the fattest tire you can fit into your frame and fork.